At The Car Boot Sale

The year the mud had dried and the grass was full and grown
we drove out to the field, opened our car boots,
set up the tables and laid out the things we no longer wanted.

Animal-shaped salt shakers, dented biscuit tins, wobbly footstools,
books bound in weathered leather, silver gravy boats, cloudy decanters,
bags of jumping jacks and army men, all priced in pencil on sticky, white labels.

And I wonder what that plate meant to you when the couple picked it up,
steered in it their hands, admiring the patterns, eyeing the base
for cracks, talking to themselves and digging their pockets for change.

You were a proper seller before, convincing those boys
to buy the horror films for a real scare, demonstrating the blender
for the older man. But for this treasure, you held your breath.

I saw it all in your silence, how the plate once served breakfast
for chattering children you tried to calm and you remembered
laying out the eggs and toast and beans upon it,

how it once carried a rich lamington, domed by a glass bowl,
that you whizzed about in your hands pretending a UFO
as you brought it to the county fair proud and pleased,

and how it once held grapes, sliced peaches and pears you placed beside
the brass balls of an old bed as you plumped the pillows and spoon-fed
a feverish loved one his favourite comfort steak and kidney pie.

What relief when the plate returned to the table.
As the couple walked away, you carefully stowed it in the front of your car.
You weren’t quite set on selling those memories.
No, not yet.

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